72,000 LGBT people in Kansas lack statewide protections from discrimination

For immediate release
January 11, 2019

Media contact
Rachel Dowd
dowd@law.ucla.edu
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Adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s existing non-discrimination law would not be costly or burdensome for the state to enforce

Approximately 72,600 LGBT adults in Kansas are vulnerable to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to a new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

The report, titled Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Kansas, found that only 12 percent of Kansas’s adult population is covered by local non-discrimination laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas such as employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Governor-elect Laura Kelley has said that she will sign an executive order protecting Kansas’s state government workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity shortly after she takes office. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the executive order would extend non-discrimination protections to the state’s 91,000 employees.

However, Kansas’s statewide non-discrimination law, the Kansas Act Against Discrimination, does not include sexual orientation or gender identity. Absent a statewide law prohibiting discrimination based on these characteristics, LGBT people in Kansas are vulnerable to discrimination and are disadvantaged economically.

Upcoming estimates from the Williams Institute show

  • 30 percent of LGBT adults in Kansas report having a household income below $24,000 compared to 18 percent of non-LGBT adults.
  • 33 percent of LGBT adults in Kansas report that they do not have enough money for food compared to 12 percent of non-LGBT adults.
  • 20 percent of LGBT adults in Kansas report that they do not have health insurance compared to 12 percent of non-LGBT adults.
  • 8 percent of LGBT adults in Kansas report being unemployed compared to 4 percent of non-LGBT adults.

“Adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the Kansas Act Against Discrimination would protect tens of thousands of LGBT people in the state from discrimination, which can contribute to improved economic stability,” said state and local policy director Christy Mallory. “These new protections wouldn’t burden the courts or state agencies. Our research indicates that there would be only about 30 new complaints each year, and the existing enforcement system could absorb these complaints without the need for additional staff or resources.”

A 2017 national poll found that 67 percent of Kansas residents support laws that would protect LGBT people in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Read the report.

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